18 October 2017 CE | 27 Muharram 1439 AH

Hadith Explanation

The Beginning of Revelation

“The beginnings of revelation to the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) took the form of true dreams. Whenever he had this kind of dream, it was something clear like the break of day. Then he was made to love going into retreat and used to retire to the cave of Hira where he would devote himself to the worship of Allah alone, continuing in this worship for a number of nights until he felt inclined to return to his family. He would take provisions for his stay. Then he would return to Khadeeja (radi Allahu anha) to restock with provisions and do the same again. This lasted until the Truth came to him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and said, ‘Read!’ He said, ‘I cannot read.’ The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘He seized me and squeezed me until all the strength went out of me and then released me and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘I cannot read.’

“Then he seized me and squeezed me a second time until all the strength went out of me and then released me. Then he seized me and squeezed me a third time and then released me, and then he said, ‘Read in the name of your Lord who created man from a blood clot. Read, and your Lord is the Most Generous…’

“Then the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) returned with that, his heart quaking. He came to Khadeeja (radi Allahu anha) and said, ‘Wrap me up! Wrap me up!’ They wrapped him up until the state of terror had left him and then he said to Khadeeja, ‘O Khadeeja, what is wrong with me!’ and told Khadeeja what had happened and said, ‘I am afraid for myself.’ Khadeeja said to him, ‘No, by Allah, Allah would never bring disgrace upon you. You maintain ties of kinship, speak the truth, bear people’s burdens, help the destitute, give hospitality to your guests and help those who have been afflicted by calamities.’” [Sahih Muslim]

This narration of how revelation first came to Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) tells us that when Jibreel (alaihis salam) first came to him, Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) considered himself to be an ordinary person. He had no idea that due to his virtue he had been chosen by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) for the most important, honourable, but difficult position in all mankind. Alone in a cave on the top of a mountain far away from Makkah you can imagine how frightened he must have become when a being materialized out of nowhere and squeezed him ordering him to read.

After Jibreel (alaihis salam) left, he fled home but was unable to speak of his ordeal except to ask to be wrapped up in blankets. When finally able to speak he voiced his fears. An ordinary person would imagine that he might have been visited by a Jinn, been bewitched, or be going crazy. But his loving, supportive and intelligent wife told him not to fear. She consoled him saying that since he led a life based on truth, justice and compassion, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) would not allow him to be disgraced by any of the things he was fearing.

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) made Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) the most honoured of men for all times, and reserved the best place “Wasila” for him in Jannah. This is an important lesson for us to understand: That he or she who believes in Allah, obeys Allah, or searches for Allah, will never be let down by Him.

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